Institute of Public Affairs

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This article is about an Australian free-market think tank. For the Polish think tank, see Institute of Public Affairs, Poland. For the Chilean institute, see Institute of Public Affairs of the University of Chile.

The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a public policy think tank[1][2][3] based in Melbourne, Australia. It advocates free market economic policies such as privatisation and deregulation of state-owned enterprises, trade liberalisation and deregulated workplaces, continued debate about climate change (through its environmental subsidiary the Australian Environment Foundation), and the accountability of non-government organisations (NGOs).[citation needed] In its own words, the Institute believes in "the free market of ideas, the free flow of capital, a limited and efficient government, the rule of law, and representative democracy."[4]

The IPA was founded in the early 1940s, partly in response to the collapse of Australia's main conservative party, the United Australia Party.[original research?] The IPA was one of a number of groups which came together to form the Liberal Party of Australia, and became an important fund raising body for the Liberal Party in Victoria.[5] The IPA returned to prominence as a thinktank in the 1990s, following a merger with the Australian Institute of Public Policy, headed by John Hyde who became Executive Director.[citation needed]


The IPA funded by its membership which include both private individuals and businesses. Among these businesses are ExxonMobil,[6] Telstra, WMC Resources, BHP Billiton, Phillip Morris,[7] Murray Irrigation Limited,[8] and Visy Industries.

IPA donors have also included Clough Engineering, Caltex, Shell, and Esso.[2] Other donors were electricity and mining companies, as well as British American Tobacco (BAT).[2]

In 2003, the Australian Government paid $50,000 to the Institute of Public Affairs to review the accountability of NGOs.[9][3]

Political links[edit]

The Institute has close ideological and political affinities with the Liberal Party in Australia. For example, John Roskam, the IPA's Executive Director, worked on the Liberal Party's 2001 election campaign.[citation needed] He has also run for Liberal Party preselection.[10] Prime Minister John Howard (Liberal Party) delivered the 60th C D Kemp lecture to the Institute in 2004, titled Iraq: The Importance of Seeing it Through.[11]

Research focus[edit]

Since the early 1980s, the Institute has argued the case for a range of free-market and libertarian public policies, such as:[citation needed]

The IPA has affiliations with think tanks in the U.S., Canada, UK and Asia.[citation needed] It has a close relationship with the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing US think-tank.[citation needed]

The IPA has made the following criticisms of proposals by the Australian government to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products:

  • Plain packaging may not affect the consumption of those products and [12][note 1]
  • Plain packaging may infringe intellectual property rights in tobacco trademarks and logos.

The IPA adopts a position of doubt about climate change and finances several Australian climate change science doubters.[13] The IPA supports elements of climate change science, including some link between the use of fossil fuels and rising carbon dioxide levels, however it also disagrees with certain aspects of climate science[citation needed].

In 2008, the institute facilitated a donation of $350,000 by Dr G. Bryant Macfie, a climate change denialist, to the University of Queensland for environmental research. The money is to fund three environmental doctoral projects, with the IPA suggesting two of the three agreed topics.[14]


John Roskam is the institute's executive director. Prior to his employment at the IPA, Roskam was the Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre in Canberra. He has also held positions as Chief of Staff to Dr David Kemp, the Federal Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, as Senior Advisor to Don Hayward, Victorian Minister for Education in the first Kennett Government, and as Manager of Government and Corporate Affairs for Rio Tinto Group.[15]

Other staff include:[16]

  • Mr Hugh Tobin, Deputy Executive Director
  • Dr Alan Moran, Director, Deregulation Unit
  • Mr Chris Berg, Research Fellow
  • Ms Louise Staley, Director, Food and Environment Unit
  • Professor Sinclair Davidson, Senior Fellow
  • Professor Jason Potts, Adjunct Fellow
  • Mr John Hyde, Emeritus Fellow
  • Dr Julie Novak, Research Fellow
  • Mr Richard Allsop, Research Fellow
  • Ms Carolyn Popp, Research Fellow
  • Mr Graham Farebrother, Research Fellow
  • Mr Andrew Poon, Marketing Manager
  • Professor Bob Carter, Emeritus Fellow, Science Policy Advisor
  • Mr James Paterson, Director of Development and Communications
  • Mr Simon Breheny, Director, Legal Rights Project and Editor, FreedomWatch
  • Mr Dom Talimanidis, Ian Mence Fellow for Entrepreneurship
  • Mr Tom Switzer, Adjunct Fellow
  • Mr Darcy Allen, Research Scholar

Former staff include[citation needed]

Tim Wilson was the Director, Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit. He resigned from the IPA and the Liberal Party after Attorney-General George Brandis appointed him Human Rights Commissioner.[17]

  • Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Director, Environment Unit
  • Dr Mike Nahan, Executive Director
  • Mr Don D'Cruz, Senior Fellow
  • Hon Dr Gary Johns, Director, Governance Unit (an ex-Hawke Labor minister)
  • Mr Jim Hoggett, Senior Fellow
  • Mr Michael Warby[18]
  • Mr Tony Barry, Director, Finance and Operations
  • Mr John Pesutto, Director, Productivity and Employment Unit
  • Mr Brad Laver
  • Mr Ken Phillips, Director Workplace Reform Unit
  • Mr Gerard Henderson was the South Australian (later Sydney) director of the IPA until 1988. He is now Executive Director of the Sydney Institute.[19]


The IPA Review is published quarterly. ISSN 1329-8100 - January 2008 is Volume 59/4.

Commentary and criticisms[edit]

The IPA has been critical of scientific research on the dangers of passive smoking. A paper published by the IPA in 1996 described a major report of the National Health and Medical Research Council as "incoherent", "corrupt" and "incompetent".[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Norington, Brad (12 August 2003). "Think tank secrets - National -". Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Millar, Royce & Schneiders, Ben (Sydney Morning Herals, August 25, 2013, Free radicals [about Institute of Public Affairs]. [1]
  4. ^ Institute of Public Affairs | About IPA
  5. ^ Robert Menzies in Office at the National Archives of Australia
  6. ^ "The global warming sceptics - Science -". Melbourne: 27 November 2004. Retrieved 2 November 2009. 
  7. ^ "Thinkers of Influence". The Age (Melbourne). 10 December 2005. 
  8. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Country Hour, 2004
  9. ^ Oxfam Australia, 2003, [2] Charities under attack.
  10. ^ Koutsoukis, Jason (17 June 2005). "Party faces choice new blood or not". The Age (Melbourne). 
  11. ^ John Howard, 19 May 2004, Address to the Institute of Public Affairs.
  12. ^ Chris Berg, IPA Research Fellow, The Age, 17 April 2001, [3].
  13. ^ "The benefit of the doubt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Dispute over climate sceptic uni grant". The Australian. 7 May 2008. 
  15. ^ [4]
  16. ^ [5]
  17. ^ George Brandis appoints IPA's Tim Wilson to Human Rights Commission: SMH 17 December 2013
  18. ^ PM Michael Warby sacked - radio show transcript
  19. ^ Australian think-tanks and the tobacco lobby. [6]
  20. ^ "Smokescreen: 'Passive Smoking' and Public Policy | Institute of Public Affairs Australia". 


  1. ^ Reference shows the opinion of an individual, not the IPA

External links[edit]